Expat in Amsterdam


I moved to Amsterdam from India in September 2014. I had been hired by a Dutch media company to work as a software developer in their IT department. They had sponsored everything from my visa to making sure my relocation was smooth, they gave me an apartment while I settled in and found one for myself. They even send a guy to pick me up in a BMW 6 series when I arrived at the airport.

I was ecstatic. The move was very inspiring. Netherlands is a beautiful country with great public infrastructure, the dutch are very friendly people, the weather was perfect, sunny and the days were long. I had fancied the thought of living in Europe at times for a year or so and Amsterdam is a great city for any expat to be in. Very soon I was going on meet-ups travelling with total strangers in groups exploring The Netherlands together. I was awe struck at the architecture and old buildings. I did most of the touristy stuff like canal rides in boats and museum trips. I hung out with my new friends in bars, restaurants and tried new cuisine and lots of beers. I was enjoying the famous European work-life balance to the fullest. If you talk to expats who have been living here long they will only complain about two things — the weather and how hard it is to find affordable housing. I was lucky with both when I arrived. Soon I moved in with a colleague in a big furnished two bedroom flat, it was the only one we ever viewed and we ended up finalising it. Life was good.

Here’s the thing when making a move like this from your home country to a completely new place. The experience is awesome but there is always a learning curve in day-to-day activities compared to what you are used to in your home country. Stuff like buying at the supermarket, knowing shops where you can find particular household items in your neighbourhood. Figuring out services like dry cleaning or getting a new key made. Figuring out the best kind of public transport plan to buy for your specific situation. This skewness was even more amplified for me since this was my first time living long term outside my home country. I am sure many people who make such a move experience this with varying intensities depending on the culture they come from.

I went through the same learning phase. One can find some fragmented information online but to be honest most of this information is something you want immediately and without investing lots of time in. I did the thing everyone would have done in my situation. I asked my Dutch colleagues whenever I had questions. While this certainly helps I always felt a gap in easy access to information regarding the local restaurants, shops, laws whatever it might be. Information that was obviously out there was not as readily available as I was expecting or wishing it to be

This is precisely when the idea of creating a location based platform where everyone could exchange information struck me. I wanted an app on my mobile that I could go to and I knew with certainty my questions would be answered, my information would be delivered to me instantly by people around me who had it. Pyke messenger was thus conceived and I was already excited about having that access to information. It had immense applications, tourists could use it to save time getting information while backpacking through cities. People who had just moved to new neighbourhoods could use it to get accustomed to the area and its services in a short time. People could also just use it to find other like-minded individuals or as a means of hyperlocal communication.

Pyke messenger gives you access to the information people around you have, right in your hands. You can browse through the feed around you or even subscribe to specific tags so that topics that interest you are delivered to you in your very own personalised feed. In this modern world of technology and smartphones everyone is increasingly isolated from their immediate surroundings since people spend a large portion of their time on their phones. We wanted to provide a solution to bring people and information together using the ever pervasive technology as a medium.

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